Trouble brewing

Animated by the Spirit rather than by spirits

As an heir of the Methodist tee-totaling commitment, I grew up with a clear sense that alcohol is dangerous and to be avoided. I heard stories of John Wesley’s critique of drunkenness in 18th-century England, of how Welch’s grape juice was introduced by a Methodist layman as an alternative to wine for communion, and of the links between drunkenness and other sinful behavior. My father regularly invoked Frances Willard, the Methodist laywoman who was a leader of the temperance movement, as one of his heroines. I even avoided “butter rum” LifeSavers: the flavoring, I was told, might lead me down a path of ruinous temptation.


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